Your health:

Feeding the toddler

By Baby Blogger Kate Richards
I've often wondered whether Ben's getting the right amount of food at mealtimes. There's a lot of information on what to give him, but less on portion sizes and the overall amount he should be having each day. He generally eats however much I give him, but I think he's just easy-going that way.

So I was very pleased hear about some new guidance from the Infant & Toddler Forum, an organisation that focuses on young children's nutrition. In their guidance, for toddlers one to three years old, they state, "Children of this age do not eat standard portions in the way adults do. Toddler appetites vary from meal to meal and day to day."

So rather than setting portion sizes for foods, they have outlined portion size ranges. For example, a half to one slice of bread, three to six heaped tablespoons of cereal, or between a quarter to one hole banana. But they also say that toddlers generally eat as much as they need - so not to worry.

The ranges are based on nutritional research, and meet the UK's Estimated Average Requirements for energy and Reference Nutrient Intakes.

The writers of the guidance say it should help healthcare professionals when advising parents and carers. Author Judy More said it "provides realistic advice for anyone feeding toddlers; the ranges address the fluctuating appetites of growing children and take into account the foods parents and carers actually offer".
Since its publication, the guidance has won a "best practice" award at last week's conference of the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association in Brighton.

Judge Gavin Fergie said, "The standard at this year's awards was very high and the ITF poster ticked all the boxes. It was clear how the guidance could be used when advising families on how much to feed pre‐school children."

It's certainly going up on my kitchen wall.

Click here to download the guidance

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